35th Annual Medicine Ways Conference Explores Identity and Media Representation

Native American Student Programs event is May 14, annual UCR Pow Wow begins May 27

UC Riverside’s NASP is celebrating 35 years of the Medicine Ways Conference and Pow Wow.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) – It’s become tradition on the University of California, Riverside campus, especially after 35 years. Native American Student Programs and the Native American Student Association at UCR, with the help of the Rupert Costo Endowed Chair, will host the annual Medicine Ways Conference, bringing in guests from across the country to speak at the event.

This year’s conference is titled, “Indigenous Perspectives: Identity and Representation Through Media,” and will be held on Saturday, May 14 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public but reservations are requested. RSVP to Joshua Gonzales, director of Native American Student Programs, at joshua.gonzales@ucr.edu. Complimentary parking is available in Lot 1.

“The topic of this year’s conference is important and timely because often indigenous people are overlooked or portrayed incorrectly and often in a stereotypical manner,” explained Gonzales. “Media continues to play a major role in educating and showcasing talents from the Native American community. To have the Native voice and representation through media from and by Native artists, actors, film directors, writers, and others is crucial and provides many opportunities for our future generations.”

For over three decades, the annual Medicine Ways Conference has invited people from near and far to partake in this unique event, addressing various topics like medicine, music, song, politics, literature, history, and health issues. The event is filled with discussions and workshops, emphasizing a new theme each year, and issues important to the health, survival, and well-being of American Indian people in contemporary society.

The Medicine Ways Conference is the first of two major events presented in May by Native American students at UCR. The second, the annual UCR Pow Wow, begins Friday, May 27, and continues through Saturday, May 28, at the UCR Sports Complex, 1000 W. Blaine St. The pow wow has also been a celebrated event at UCR for 35 years. It is an inter-tribal social gathering celebrating Native American culture and traditions through singing, drumming, and dancing. Traditional Native American dancers, drum groups, bird singers, and other artists will be present, and vendors will sell food, handmade Native American jewelry, arts and crafts, and other merchandise. Admission is free and open to the public. Parking is free in Lot 26.

“To have our conferences reach the 35-year milestone is simply amazing and it’s really such an honor. Each year, the students put their heart and soul into providing these wonderful events, and the conferences continue to grow and are well-attended by the campus and local community,” said Gonzales.

Medicine Ways Tentative Schedule

  • 9 a.m. – Registration, check-in, welcome, blessing, and continental breakfast
  • 10 a.m. – “Story is Medicine,” Kimberly Guerrero (Colville, Salish-Kootenai, Cherokee)
  • 11 a.m. – Break
  • 11:10 a.m. – Breakout session with Klee Benally (Diné), Pamela Peters (Navajo), and Steven Paul Judd (Kiowa-Choctaw)
  • 12 p.m. – Lunch, Jim Ruel (Ojibwe)
  • 1 p.m. – Break
  • 1:10 p.m. – Breakout session with Klee Benally (Diné), Pamela Peters (Navajo), and Steven Paul Judd (Kiowa-Choctaw)
  •  2 p.m. – Break
  •  2:10 p.m. – Breakout session with Klee Benally (Diné), Pamela Peters (Navajo), and Steven Paul Judd (Kiowa-Choctaw)
  • 3 p.m. – Break
  • 3:10 p.m. – “Creative Solution, Negative Reaction: How Native America Can Change Hollywood…Forever,” Myrton Runningwolf (Blackfeet Indian Tribe)
  •  4 p.m. – Dinner
  •  5 p.m. – Bird singing

Pow Wow Schedule   

Friday, May 27

  • 5 p.m. – Gates open, dancer registration opens; bird singing
  • 6 p.m. – Gourd dance
  • 7 p.m. – Grand entry

Saturday, May 28

  • 11 a.m. – Gates open, dancer registration opens; bird singing
  • 12 p.m. – Gourd dance
  • 1 p.m. – Grand entry, dancer registration closes
  • 5 p.m. – Bird singing
  • 6 p.m. – Gourd dance
  • 7 p.m. – Grand entry

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-5893
E-mail: mojgan.sherkat@ucr.edu
Twitter: mojgansherkat

Additional Contacts

Joshua Gonzales
Tel: (951)827-4143
E-mail: joshua.gonzales@ucr.edu

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